The backdrop: a hotly-contested conflict of national importance, with mud-slinging partisans on both sides going over the top with condemnation and praise for their favorites. But so much for the World Series! Although there was also an election for some kind of political office, all of that paled in comparison to the fervor surrounding this year's Anderton Awards.
Combining the best elements of a train wreck, a sleep aid and a sumptuous awards banquet catered by acclaimed French caterers Taquaux Belle (who fashioned a delightful Mexican cuisine theme), the Anderton Awards ceremony lumbered into its permanent San Francisco home in the Civic Center BART station. (And props to all the passers-by who tossed quarters into the tip jar!)
Professional buffoon Donald Trump was a fantastic celebrity presenter, as he handed out awards with an enthusiastic “It's AES! You're wired, not fired!” Although a couple of winners were injured from collisions with his hair, no significant lawsuits resulted and a wonderful time was had by all.
And of course, all winners receive . . . absolutely nothing, except for ink in this extremely prestigious pro audio publication, and the knowledge that they rose above the noise to merit the most meaningful award in the known universe. Or at least in the Civic Center BART station. Donald, the envelopes, please!
The Home Run at the First At-Bat award, along with some serious kudos, went to the AES Project Studio Expo track. Lots of seminars, standing room-only crowds, wireless headphones for best fidelity and no ambient noise, enthusiastic attendees…AES has discovered its fountain of youth.
Aside from devastating the east coast, Hurricane Sandy picked up the Have a Nice Vacation—Or Else award for stranding lots of AES attendees in San Francisco. Then again if you have to be stranded, trust me on this, sweetie—Halloween in San Francisco rocks.
Radial Engineering earned the James Brown Memorial “Hardest Working Man in Show Biz” award for introducing 92 new products at the show. Or maybe it was 97. Or 123 . . . hard to keep track. Blame Canada.
The Quad Cores Aren't Just for Computers award went to Audio-Technica's AT5040, which sums four smaller, rectangular condenser capsules to give the benefits of a small and large diaphragm microphone. Pricey, but soooo clever.
The Sherlock Holmes: Case of the Disappearing DAW award was shared by every DAW manufacturer except Magix, which took advantage of being the only DAW at the show to demo all the cool stuff that Samplitude Pro X and Sequoia can do. Go ahead, download the demo—I dare you not to be impressed.
In a unanimous vote of the judges, the MIDI Manufacturers Association walked off with the Excellence in Rumors award. Is the MMA really working on something that, like MIDI, could transform the industry in a most excellent manner? The Magic 8-Ball, coupled with an overheard conversation relayed from my network of spies, says “highly likely.”
The AES 2012 Concept Car award (from honorary judge and all-around good guy Gino Robair), as well as the Peter Gabriel “I've Got the Touch” award, went to Slate's Raven MTX—a giant touch screen disguised as a DAW's mixer. Or maybe it's a mixer disguised as a giant touch screen.
The World's Cheapest Protractor and String award, a new and probably never-to-be-seen-again category, went to Genelec's cheap 'n' cheerful Speaker Angle app. Use your iPhone or Android to help angle your speakers for the politically correct monitoring position, and yes, it really works.
Audio-Technica picked up a second award—That Price is a Typo, Right?—for its System 10 wireless system for guitar or vocals. Seriously? Digital wireless with multiple levels of diversity for $299? The Great God Google has verified that it wasn't a typo.
The Girls Just Wanna Twist Knobs award went to the Women's Audio Mission. Let's face it, the pro audio world could stand to get more in touch with its feminine side, and WAM's combination of working studio, online education, and member perks are helping the cause.
The special Halloween edition of the Turning Zombies into Productive Citizens award goes to inMusic's Jack O'Donnell. They laughed when he bought Alesis, which had been left for dead. They chuckled because they knew no one could ever save Akai Professional. The laughing has stopped…and now he has M-Audio and AIR Music Technology. Stay tuned.
And as the curtain falls on another Anderton Awards ceremony, fortunately causing only minor injuries.We'd like to thank you all for coming (or at least enjoying yourself). See you next year!